From-Aberystwyth-to-Mozabique-RNLI-lifeboats-celebrate-50-years-of-service

Byline: This week the RNLI’s D class inshore lifeboat will be turning 50. The charity’s longest serving type of inshore lifeboat has come a long way since it was used to rescue two men and a dog in Aberystwyth in June 1963.
Page Content: Half a century later it is still going strong. David Jenkins, now RNLI Station Treasurer at Aberystwyth lifeboat station, was crew there in the 1960s and was one of the first to launch the D class lifeboat on a rescue to a person who had drifted out to sea on an inflatable.

He said: ‘The introduction of the D class lifeboat was exciting for the younger crew. The new boat had the capability of 20 knots which was much faster than the 8 knot Liverpool class lifeboat.’

He continued:  ‘The D class was exhilarating and exciting; the fastest most of us had ever travelled on sea. It also attracted younger people to join the crew – some of the older crew said it would never replace the bigger boats, but they were wrong, in 1964 the D class replaced the Liverpool class Lifeboat at Aberystwyth.’

Having been refined and improved over the years, there are now 111 D class lifeboats serving in the RNLI fleet. During its 50 years saving lives at sea, the D class lifeboat has played a vital role for the RNLI because of its manoeuvrability and design which allows it to work in shallow water and broken surf; areas in which other lifeboats are unable to operate.

These lifeboats were used in two dramatic rescues at Port Isaac and Anstruther that were recently recognised with RNLI gallantry medals. Both of these rescues required the agility and manoeuvrability of the D class. In Port Isaac the crew went to the aid of two anglers that had fallen into rough seas. The lifeboat volunteers faced challenging conditions and used the engines and anchor to reverse the boat towards the rocks where the casualties were. At Anstruther the D class lifeboat was used to reach two people stranded on a boat that had been washed onto rocks in breaking seas at a position that the larger all-weather lifeboat couldn’t reach. The D class came into its own to pluck the casualties from the stricken vessel.

These days the D class lifeboat is also used by the Flood Rescue Team (FRT). The FRT was created when a team of eight volunteers along with six D class lifeboats were deployed to the Mozambique floods of February 2000. While there the team ended up providing humanitarian aid to some 10,000 people. In 2005, six boats and a team of 20 volunteers were deployed to Guyana, when heavy rain and flooding affected 250,000 people.

More recently the 18 Flood Rescue Team D class lifeboats saw quite a lot of action featuring in the deployments to Tewkesbury and Cockermouth in 2009 and Worcestershire in 2007 as well as the Welsh and Devon floods last year.

Last year D class lifeboats launched 2,335 times (28% of all launches) rescuing 1,649 people and saving 100 lives.

It’s not just the lifeboats that will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, they are in good company. Also celebrating 50 years are instant coffee, the computer mouse, the lava lamp as well as the original boyband the Beatles, who released their first single and album in 1963.

Byline: This week the RNLI’s D class inshore lifeboat will be turning 50. The charity’s longest serving type of inshore lifeboat has come a long way since it was used to rescue two men and a dog in Aberystwyth in June 1963.
Page Content: Half a century later it is still going strong. David Jenkins, now RNLI Station Treasurer at Aberystwyth lifeboat station, was crew there in the 1960s and was one of the first to launch the D class lifeboat on a rescue to a person who had drifted out to sea on an inflatable.

He said: ‘The introduction of the D class lifeboat was exciting for the younger crew. The new boat had the capability of 20 knots which was much faster than the 8 knot Liverpool class lifeboat.’

He continued:  ‘The D class was exhilarating and exciting; the fastest most of us had ever travelled on sea. It also attracted younger people to join the crew – some of the older crew said it would never replace the bigger boats, but they were wrong, in 1964 the D class replaced the Liverpool class Lifeboat at Aberystwyth.’

Having been refined and improved over the years, there are now 111 D class lifeboats serving in the RNLI fleet. During its 50 years saving lives at sea, the D class lifeboat has played a vital role for the RNLI because of its manoeuvrability and design which allows it to work in shallow water and broken surf; areas in which other lifeboats are unable to operate.

These lifeboats were used in two dramatic rescues at Port Isaac and Anstruther that were recently recognised with RNLI gallantry medals. Both of these rescues required the agility and manoeuvrability of the D class. In Port Isaac the crew went to the aid of two anglers that had fallen into rough seas. The lifeboat volunteers faced challenging conditions and used the engines and anchor to reverse the boat towards the rocks where the casualties were. At Anstruther the D class lifeboat was used to reach two people stranded on a boat that had been washed onto rocks in breaking seas at a position that the larger all-weather lifeboat couldn’t reach. The D class came into its own to pluck the casualties from the stricken vessel.

These days the D class lifeboat is also used by the Flood Rescue Team (FRT). The FRT was created when a team of eight volunteers along with six D class lifeboats were deployed to the Mozambique floods of February 2000. While there the team ended up providing humanitarian aid to some 10,000 people. In 2005, six boats and a team of 20 volunteers were deployed to Guyana, when heavy rain and flooding affected 250,000 people.

More recently the 18 Flood Rescue Team D class lifeboats saw quite a lot of action featuring in the deployments to Tewkesbury and Cockermouth in 2009 and Worcestershire in 2007 as well as the Welsh and Devon floods last year.

Last year D class lifeboats launched 2,335 times (28% of all launches) rescuing 1,649 people and saving 100 lives.

It’s not just the lifeboats that will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, they are in good company. Also celebrating 50 years are instant coffee, the computer mouse, the lava lamp as well as the original boyband the Beatles, who released their first single and album in 1963.